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Specialty Drug Spending Up 20% and OMB Completes 340B Review


IP Blog | Dave Melin | June 14, 2015

BioBlog Weekly oncologyThis week in healthcare, specialty drug spending is up 20% and the OMB has completed its regulatory review of the 340B “mega-guidance”.

Specialty Drugs Drove Upward Surge in Pharma Spending Last Year

According to a recent report from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), overall drug spending in 2014 rose 13 percent from the previous year to a total of $373.9 billion. Specifically within the category of specialty pharmacy, drug spending increased by over 20% in 2014, which means that specialty contributed significantly to the overall increase.

Humana Enters Quiet Period Until July 29, Refueling Acquisition Rumors

Health insurer Humana recently announced it would enter a “quiet period” before discussing earnings at its next conference call on July 29, partially due to increasing rumors and speculation about a potential upcoming acquisition.

Alternative Payment Models Offer Hope for Future of Cancer Care

This author argues that the recent repeal of the SGR by Congress signals hope for the future: “By repealing and replacing this flawed payment system, lawmakers have effectively shown support for advancing payment mechanisms that offer sustainability and predictability for physicians treating older Americans in the Medicare program.”

Obama: ‘The Affordable Care Act Doesn’t Need Fixing’

Amidst growing anticipation for the Supreme Court’s ruling in King v. Burwell, the case to decide the fate of federal ACA subsidies, President Obama recently defended the health care law: “Under well-established precedent, there is no reason why the existing health insurance exchanges should be overturned through a court case.”

Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: April 2015

In this monthly poll, Kaiser has found that nearly equal percentages of Americans approve of the ACA as disapprove: “43 percent say they have a favorable view of the law and 42 percent say they have an unfavorable view.” Additionally, of the people surveyed, “only 8 percent correctly answered that the law is now costing the government less than originally estimated, while half think that it is now costing more.”

The Impact of the Coverage Gap in States Not Expanding Medicaid by Race and Ethnicity

This in-depth report from the Kaiser Family Foundation examines Americans who fall outside the umbrella of Medicaid coverage: “In states that have not expanded Medicaid, 3.7 million poor uninsured adults fall into a “coverage gap,” and will likely remain uninsured.”

340B “Mega-Guidance” Under Review at OMB

The US Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has completed its regulatory review of the 340B proposed rule titled “340B Civil Monetary Penalties for Manufacturers and Ceiling Price Regulations” as of June 5. More information about the review is expected to be forthcoming.

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